Gravel & Shea PC

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Attorney Heather Rider Hammond to Speak at Associated Industries of Vermont (AIV) Human Resources Seminar

Gravel & Shea shareholder Heather Rider Hammond will speak at the Associated Industries of Vermont (AIV) Human Resources Seminar on August 1, 2019, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier, Vermont.  This seminar will focus on key human resource developments and issues facing Vermont employers.  The seminar will cover issues impacting private and public sector employers and the professionals who serve them, and will feature presentations, commentary, and audience Q&A with expert government and private sector presenters.  Heather will speak in regards to recent and pending issues related to protected leave, and will lead an interactive, round table discussion on difficult workplace issues that employers face.

AIV is a state-wide organization dedicated to manufacturers and their supporting business and organizations.  It provides legislative and regulatory advocacy and representation at the state and federal level; news and information; education; networking and marketing; and other benefits.  <Click here> for further information and to sign up for the seminar.

Gravel & Shea PC July 15, 2019

Gravel & Shea Attorneys Graduate Leadership Champlain Program







Congratulations to Gravel & Shea attorneys Brent Lanoue, Celeste Laramie and Hillary Borcherding! After completing a year of seminars and community service projects, Brent, Celeste and Hillary graduated from the esteemed Leadership Champlain program last week. Leadership Champlain is a professional development and community engagement program of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce with a mission to foster growth and leadership in professionals across Vermont. Brent, Celeste and Hillary will join the ranks of the many other Leadership Champlain alumni here at Gravel & Shea and will use the skills and connections they gained through this program to better serve their clients and their community. We are indeed fortunate to count such dedicated and engaged professionals as our colleagues!

Gravel & Shea PC June 25, 2019

dOrg Launches First Limited Liability DAO

dOrg, a blockchain development cooperative, announced today that it is now the first legally established Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) under United States law.

After deploying its DAO to the Ethereum blockchain, dOrg formed a Blockchain-Based Limited Liability Company (BBLLC) in Vermont, dOrg LLC. By linking the DAO to this BBLLC, the DAO has official legal status, allowing it to enter contractual agreements and offer participants liability protections.

dOrg’s legal DAO is only the first step in a wider research collaboration to develop best practices and software that automates DAO legal formation. dOrg hopes that these efforts will catalyze a new wave of DAOs that can interoperate with the broader economy.

“We want to make what we just did accessible to anyone in the world,” according to a statement ratified by dOrg’s proposal engine. “Ultimately, the process of configuring and deploying a legally registered DAO will be as easy as creating a social media account.”

Vermont enacted the law that enables BBLLCs in July 2018. The law creates an enforceable legal framework for blockchain-based governance and organizational structures.

“dOrg asked us to help design a DAO legal wrapper after discovering the potential of BBLLCs,” said Oliver Goodenough, a law professor at Vermont Law School and special counsel to Gravel & Shea. “We believe that dOrg is now the first legal entity that directly references blockchain code as its source of governance. Its material operations and ownership interests are managed entirely on-chain.”
dOrg uses DAOstack– an open-source blockchain-based framework for decentralized governance– as the underlying technology for its DAO.

“We are very excited about the launch of dOrg’s legal DAO. This is a bold experiment to bridge the blockchain world with legacy systems,” said Matan Field, Chief Architect and CEO of DAOstack Technologies.

For more information, visit To view interviews about dOrg, visit

About dOrg

dOrg is a blockchain development shop that specializes in Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). We build open-source tooling, execute on client work, and conduct research that advances the DAO ecosystem.


Ori Shimony:

Gravel & Shea
Oliver Goodenough:
Catherine Burke:

Patrick Rawson:

Gravel & Shea PC June 11, 2019

Cannabis in the Specialty Food Industry







“Last Thursday, Cassandra LaRae-Perez was a featured speaker at the Vermont Specialty Food Association Spring Annual Meeting at the Mountain Top Inn at Chittenden, Vermont. She participated on a panel discussing Cannabis in the Specialty Food Industry with Cheryl DeVos, CEO of Kimball Brook Farm and Philip Lamy, Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Cannabis Studies Program at Castleton University.

The legality of incorporating CBD in food and beverages is a complex and constantly evolving topic keeping everyone on their toes!”

Gravel & Shea PC June 11, 2019

Blockchain-Enabled Consensus Community Engagement App Launches in South Burlington, Vermont





The City of South Burlington and the Toronto-based artificial intelligence/ blockchain company Consensus announced the official launch today of a groundbreaking app using blockchain technology to gather real-time feedback from residents about municipal issues. The Consensus app is the first blockchain-based citizen engagement platform in use by a city government in the U.S.  The app pushes questions the city government generates to users in real-time and seamlessly feeds their responses to city leaders. This allows people to voice concerns or register their satisfaction quickly and directly to the city government on a wide variety of issues, from paving schedules and commutes to parks and recreation options.

The new Consensus app was unveiled at the South Burlington City Hall today.  City Council Chair Helen Riehle, City Manager Kevin Dorn, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, Consensus Founder and CEO Oleg Gutsol, and Consensus Chief Strategy Officer Dustin Plett all attended the announcement. They invited South Burlington residents to get involved and make their voices heard by downloading the app, responding to survey questions, and giving Consensus and the City feedback about improving the app. The free Consensus app is now available for Apple and Android users in the iTunes Store and in Google Play, and via a link on

City and state government leaders touted the Consensus app as an invaluable and innovative tool for the city to keep its pulse on residents’ concerns, as well as another sign of the City’s competitiveness in attracting tech jobs to Vermont.

Riehle explained that “effective government leaders” need “timely, informed and thoughtful feedback from residents.”  She characterized the feedback the City will receive through the Consensus app “so important to our form of representative government.” Attorney General TJ Donovan added that the “bold leadership” shown by South Burlington leaders in adopting the Consensus pilot project would allow the City to be “more responsive, more competitive” and to increase access to government.

Consensus, the company that developed the app, also highlighted the Consensus app’s value as a secure tool to improve citizen engagement and enable rapid decision-making in government. Plett called the pilot “an incredibly innovative initiative” to foster citizen engagement and improve democracy. He added that the three- to four- month pilot would allow Consensus to test user adoption and scalability of the secure Consensus app while preparing for its commercial launch. Plett confirmed that the Consensus app includes security features that protect users’ personal information and  “ensures no outside influences” affect or corrupt residents’ votes.

Blockchain supporters who gathered for the launch echoed the enthusiasm of Consensus’ developers and the government officials at the launch.  The “race is on for states to attract blockchain companies,” said David Thelander, Special Counsel at Gravel & Shea PC, which aided Consensus in landing the pilot in South Burlington. Thelander noted that the City of South Burlington had distinguished itself as a leader in that race, including through its earlier partnership with Propy to complete the first U.S. real estate transaction conducted entirely on the blockchain. “Our firm, and the rest of the blockchain industry, are eager to see how this pilot helps improve blockchain products and paves the way for their use by cities, states, and towns,” Thelander added.

Those interested in downloading the Consensus app or getting more information about the pilot project are encouraged to visit

Gravel & Shea PC June 3, 2019

Jeanne C. Blackmore Selected for the 2019 Chambers Guide High Net Worth Category

We are proud to announce that partner Jeanne C. Blackmore has been selected for the 2019 Chambers Guide High Net Worth Category.

Jeanne, who specializes in Private Wealth Law, came to Gravel & Shea after over ten years in Ernst & Young’s national office tax practice. Her specialty areas are tax and estate planning, probate and trust administration, and general business taxation.

Jeanne has been listed in the Chambers High Net Worth Guide for several years running and has also been listed in the New England Super Lawyers. She is a member of the Chittenden County, Vermont, California and American Bar Associations, and has co-authored several books.

The firm wishes a warm congratulations to Jeanne for her hard work and outstanding contributions.


The Chambers and Partners Ranking Guides offer detailed insight into the global legal market. For almost 30 years, the Chambers team, now made up of 200 research analysts, has undergone intensive research via their London office to develop a database of the best law professionals across the globe.

The rankings are meant to offer a comprehensive overview of firms and attorneys based on a number of criteria, including professional conduct, overall dedication and ability, client service, strategic effectiveness, and commercial astuteness. The Chambers team’s assessment process is based on a combination client opinions and internal assessments such as interviews.

The guide, now in the form of a comprehensive digital database, is the most authoritative and up-to-date overview of law firms and attorneys, and as such is the premier resource for business organizations seeking top-notch legal counsel.

Gravel & Shea PC May 8, 2019

Gravel & Shea Listed as Leading Firm in Chambers USA 2019

Gravel & Shea is on pleased to announce their listing as a top-ranked firm in the 2019 Chambers & Partners Guide. The firm has been featured in the Chambers Guide for the past several years, a testament to the high level of quality service they offer clients, and their overall dedication to case work. The Chambers Guide is the world’s foremost resource ranking the best law firms and attorneys throughout 200 jurisdictions globally.

Firm attorneys are listed in three key categories:

  • Corporate/Commercial
  • Litigation: General Commercial
  • Real Estate


The Chambers Guide notes that the firm has an “impressive track record” supporting business and commercial clients, with a focus on M&A, finance, taxation, construction, and renewable energy, blockchain and securities.


Peter S. Erly

William A. Mason, IV

Keith A. Roberts





Litigation: General Commercial

Gravel & Shea’s litigation team is known for its ability to tackle a range of commercial litigation issues and complex disputes. Notable specialty areas include product liability, bankruptcy litigation, alternative dispute resolution, insurance, and securities.

Matthew B. Byrne

Robert B. Hemley






Real Estate

 Gravel & Shea’s highly regarded attorneys are known for their thorough knowledge and dedication to cases in a range of real estate matters in residential, commercial and mixed-use zoning. They are particularly noted for their work on environmental and land use cases, and are well-versed in the areas of acquisitions, financing and permitting.

Timothy M. Eustace

Michelle N. Farkas

Robert H. Rushford




Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use

Timothy M. Eustace has been recognized for his work in Zoning /Land Use.

Chambers & Partners also recognized Jeanne C. Blackmore as a leading attorney in the Chamber’s and Partners High Net Worth Guide and Heather Rider Hammond for her labor and employment practice.








Gravel & Shea congratulates each attorney for their outstanding contributions to the firm.

The Chambers and Partners Ranking Guides offer detailed insight into the global legal market. For almost 30 years, the Chambers team, now made up of 200 research analysts, has undergone intensive research via their London office to develop a database of the best law professionals across the globe.

The rankings are meant to offer a comprehensive overview of firms and attorneys based on a number of criteria, including professional conduct, overall dedication and ability, client service, strategic effectiveness, and commercial astuteness. The Chambers team’s assessment process is based on a combination client opinions and internal assessments such as interviews.

The guide, now in the form of a comprehensive digital database, is the most authoritative and up-to-date overview of law firms and attorneys, and as such is the premier resource for business organizations seeking top-notch legal counsel



Gravel & Shea PC May 8, 2019

New Blockchain-Based Smartphone App Helps Connect South Burlington Community with Local Government

The Gravel & Shea Blockchain team are excited to announce a new blockchain-based pilot project.

Consensus, a Toronto-based company and Gravel & Shea client, has designed a smartphone app to connect the local community to municipal government. The goal is to encourage South Burlington community members to share their thoughts on municipal issues right from their smartphones.

Kevin Dorn, South Burlington City Manager, is enthusiastic about this opportunity to connect the public with policymakers in a real and accessible way. He considers it imperative that community members become more engaged with local government, to make sure they are seen and heard as a part of a transparent and effective democratic process.

Consensus is joining forces with Champlain College to bring the app into reality and into the community. Consensus will tap Champlain College math and science students to assist in the project.  Dorn made the announcement about the pilot project last week, alongside Consensus, Champlain College, the Vermont Attorney General’s office and Gravel & Shea.

Left to right: DLGA Chair John Burton; Champlain College President Don Laackman; Consensus’ Dustin Plett; Kevin Dorn, South Burlington City Manager; Chris Curtis, Attorney General’s office; David J. Thelander, Gravel & Shea.  

The Consensus app marks another positive step in Gravel & Shea’s success in attracting blockchain-focused businesses to the region. The firm has been working to build partnerships to facilitate local blockchain-based initiatives in a range of industries, including real estate, since VT passed landmark blockchain legislation last spring.

Blockchain technology is highly resistant to hacking, which means that it offers an exceptional levels of security and privacy for applications which incorporate public sector data. Blockchain’s ability to simultaneously keep records confidential and streamline citizen communication makes the technology an ideal support tool for civic engagement.

Through the coming months, Gravel & Shea will work with both Consensus and South Burlington to launch the project, with the app expected to be available to local residents via the App Store this summer.

For further information, see our NBC and WCAX coverage.

Gravel & Shea’s Blockchain Technology group specializes in analyzing and resolving legal issues related to blockchain technology.

Gravel & Shea PC April 4, 2019

Gravel & Shea Attorneys Present on Probate and Food Law at VBA Mid-Year Meeting

Three Gravel & Shea attorneys gave presentations last week at the Vermont Bar Association Mid-Year Meeting in Lake Morey.

Shareholder Navah Spero and Associate Livia DeMarchis presented Probate 101. The session, intended to provide a broad overview of the Vermont probate court, was geared toward attorneys new to practicing in Vermont and attorneys who are starting or interested in starting their own probate practice.

“The participants were very engaged and asked good questions,” said Spero. “It’s a smart practice area to be getting into right now as the Baby Boomer generation ages, bringing more and more cases before the probate court.”

Spero is a member of Gravel & Shea’s litigation practice group and specializes in probate litigation. DeMarchis’s practice focuses on tax and estate planning as well as trust and probate administration.

Special Counsel Cassandra LaRae-Perez presented a detailed overview of food and beverage law at the state and federal levels. She also provided the attending attorneys with information on current litigation trends and recent developments in both case law and regulatory regimes, like class actions suits based on similar claims across the country and the changing nature of regulations related to CBD products, particularly dietary supplements.

“It’s a dynamic area of the law consistently challenged by an active plaintiffs’ bar and recent sweeping changes in regulation,” said LaRae-Perez. “Even companies doing their best to do the right thing can find themselves at the business end of a daunting lawsuit, and it’s hard for new companies to navigate all the regulations and myriad agencies involved. But that’s also what makes it interesting.”

LaRae-Perez is the only Vermont attorney with a dedicated food and beverage practice.


Gravel & Shea PC April 2, 2019

Attorney Keith Roberts Joins Gravel & Shea Corporate Team

Gravel & Shea is happy to welcome Keith Roberts to the firm. As Special Counsel on the corporate team, Keith’s practice will focus on a wide range of corporate transactional and governance issues, including purchase and sale transactions, financing on both the borrower and lender sides, and representation of boards.

“Joining the team at Gravel & Shea was an opportunity that I couldn’t ignore,” says Keith. “The firm offers me the perfect opportunity to do more of the types of legal work that I really enjoy, and I’m looking forward to growing the firm’s representation of non-profits and participating in public finance transactions.”

Prior to joining Gravel & Shea, Keith was a shareholder at another prominent Vermont law firm for nearly 15 years. He began his law career clerking for the Honorable Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge, District of Massachusetts and then worked at Ropes & Gray in Boston before returning to Vermont in 2004.

“We are pleased to welcome Keith Roberts,” said Gravel & Shea Shareholder William Mason. “Keith brings significant experience working with municipalities and businesses on their governance, transactions and day-to-day legal affairs.”



Gravel & Shea PC March 11, 2019